Following the NBA announcement that all teams must play the National Anthem before games, Mark Cuban has agreed. Previously, the Dallas Mavericks owner had gone public with his decision to refrain from playing the song before games. Throughout the 2020-2021 season, the Dallas Mavericks did not play the anthem. But now, due to the NBA’s renewed policy, the Star-Spangled Banner did play before tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.
The NBA announcement from Mike Bass stated that “with NBA teams now in the process of welcoming back fans into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy.”
Mark Cuban responded swiftly to the NBA’s request. While he had not allowed the song to be played before the game during the regular season with no fans, he has now changed his mind. “We are good with it,” he told the New York Times. While fans begin to return to NBA stadiums, the Dallas Mavericks allowed 1,500 essential workers to attend their last game against Minnesota. The Mavs announced that they would begin to have seating in some capacity soon.
Mark Cuban on Playing the National Anthem
While the Mavs have refrained from playing the National Anthem, Mark Cuban has clarified why. As Cuban explains, it is not “because [the players] don’t love the U.S., but because many feel that the anthem doesn’t represent them, and they want to continue the discussion of how to represent people from all communities when honoring the U.S. at the game.”
Mark Cuban also had something to say about the response he received for his decision. He always has his players’ best interests in mind, and always backs them up on their feelings.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” Mark Cuban said in a statement. “But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard because they have not been.”
“Our hope is that going forward people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them,” Mark Cuban continued. “Then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us.”
National Anthem Controversy
This National Anthem controversy stems back before Mark Cuban’s decision not to play the song. This stems all the way back to Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 NFL social justice protests. In those protests, Kaepernick would kneel during the National Anthem, sparking conversations across the country. Since then, countless other players have joined in the protest for social and racial justice.
However, not all of the response has been positive. For instance, Kaepernick lost his job due to the drama and has not returned to the league since. Former President Donald Trump also famously spoke out against players kneeling on several occasions. These protests have provoked countless rule changes and adjustments across all major sports, as well as opened up some progressive conversations amongst players, coaches, owners, and fans.
Mark Cuban also received a mixed response for his choice to halt the playing of the National Anthem. Given the geographical location of the team, many people criticized Cuban for not catering to the Texas audience. Others, however, supported his decision, sometimes vehemently. For instance, New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy backed up the Mavs owner.
“This should happen everywhere,” Van Gundy said in his Tweet. “If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service, and the start of every workday at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game?”